FBI Refuses FOIA Request for Emails to CNN Before Roger Stone Arrest, Gives Nonsensical Excuse

You’ll probably recall the dramatic arrest of Roger Stone. For some reason the FBI (and Robert Mueller’s team) thought it necessary to act like they were taking down a drug kingpin, complete with SWAT teams and guns drawn. This was all highly unusual given Stone had no passport, was not a flight risk, and then was immediately released on bail anyway.

The indication here is that Mueller wanted to make a show of it. That appearance was reinforced by the magical attendance of a CNN news crew that just happened to know the exact day and time of the arrest.

While CNN made the ridiculous claim that they just got lucky (something that’s obviously not true), the rest of us with common sense know what happened. Someone from the FBI tipped off the so called news network so they could film the whole thing and become part of the show Mueller wanted to put on.

The Federalist has the details.

CNN was the only network present at the Fort Lauderdale home of Roger Stone, a former Trump associate who was indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, prior to the arrival of FBI agents dispatched to arrest the bombastic former Nixon aide. The pre-dawn arrival of CNN at what was supposed to be a surprise raid of Stone’s home raised questions about whether the network had been tipped off about the impending FBI arrest of Stone.

David Shortell, the CNN reporter who broadcast live from Stone’s home during the raid, rejected suggestions that he had been tipped off to the raid and claimed that it was a gut feeling that compelled him to camp outside Stone’s residence the same day federal agents showed up to arrest Stone…

“It’s reporter’s instinct,” Shortell said shortly after the raid, according to the Washington Examiner.

A gut feeling? Reporters instinct? Oh, come on. No one actually believes that.

Holding the same suspicions as any other normal onlooker, The Federalist sought to garner proof that CNN was tipped off. They sent the FBI two FOIA requests for communications with CNN on the day of the Roger Stone raid. These were summarily rejected for reasons that simply make no sense.

The FBI on Tuesday rejected an open records request from The Federalist for any and all emails sent to or from CNN the day of the pre-dawn raid at the home of Roger Stone.

“Please provide all e-mails sent to or received from any account with a ‘cnn.com’ domain from January 24, 2019 through January 25, 2019,” The Federalist wrote in a Freedom Of Information Act request submitted on the morning of January 25, 2019…

…In a letter to The Federalist justifying its refusal to provide the request records, the FBI claimed that the request for emails to and from a specific domain sent or received on two specific dates was “overly broad,” did not provide “enough detail to enable personnel to locate” the records, and sought information in “vague and undefined terms.”

Using the same rationale, the FBI also rejected a separate FOIA request from The Federalist which specifically requested any and all FBI emails on the day of the Stone raid sent to or from Josh Campbell, a former FBI employee who worked under James Comey, former director of the FBI, and now works as a law enforcement analyst for CNN, as well as any and all emails from that day specifically mentioning Roger Stone.

How is giving a specific date range, specific email domain, and in the case of the 2nd request, a specific person “overly broad?” The answer is that it’s not. It would have taken all of ten seconds for the FBI to find emails sent to CNN domains on those two days. It would have taken even less time to find those sent specifically to Josh Campbell, a CNN contributor who’s shtick is continually covering for the FBI on the air and in print.

The FBI also claimed that such requests did not meet the requirements for a FOAI request but didn’t bother to explain exactly how they didn’t.

The FBI did not explain how a request noting a specific date, specific character string, and specific sender or recipient did not satisfy federal regulations covering open records requests made pursuant FOIA.

What exactly is the FBI hiding here? There was no logical reason to reject these requests. Most of the public are not so dumb as to believe a CNN reporter had a bowel movement and suddenly knew that Roger Stone would be arrested. There was a leak here and the FBI apparently wants to cover that up. Why? Probably because the IG has already lit into them over their previous leaking problems, as well as accepting improper gifts from reporters.

Roger Stone may be a bad guy, but there was no reason to have that kind of show of force at his arrest. There was also no reason for a CNN news crew to be on the scene as if they were filming the take down of Al Capone. This kind of attempted massaging of public perception is supposed to be out of bounds for law enforcement. The FBI has a cultural problem that needs fixing. It won’t be fixed by obfuscating and hiding what’s already occurred. The way back to credibility is to expose this and work toward change within the hierarchical structure of the organization. Rejecting these requests is just another black mark on their record.

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